How to Create a Custom License Plate for Your Car

Posted May 2, 2019 by in Lifestyle

It is estimated there are about 1 billion passenger cars worldwide. Would you believe in one year alone, there are approximately 70 million new cars manufactured?

People love cars and that is not going to change anytime soon. Which country do you think produces the most cars? Maybe you are thinking the U.S?

Think again. It is China, which goes to show, where there are people there are lots of cars. 

Your car says a lot about you, even if you don’t realize it yet. The make, the color, the style, and even the number plate speaks volumes. In fact, cars and their psychology make for fascinating reading.

So, with all of these cars, how are you going to stand out from the crowd? There are lots of creative ways but one of the most fun is to create your own custom license plate. How do you do that and what are the rules?

It is not difficult but there are some things you definitely need to know. Read on to learn more.

Custom License Plate Law

You are legally allowed to have a customized number plate but it must follow the general requirements for all number plates. For example, it must be clearly visible and mounted on the vehicle in a clear and unobstructed way.

Number plates are controlled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Even so, the requirements are slightly different depending on which state you live in. It’s best to check the requirements with your local office. After checking all the requirements, you can buy number plates from reputed vendors. 

It is interesting to note that of the 50 states, only 19 require a rear number plate. So bear that in mind when you are ordering your custom license plate. Number plate violations can cost you a fine of around $100 to $200 depending on the exact offense and the state you live in. 

We advise UK readers to check out CarVeto to run a number plate check. They deliver car data via the DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency) and can help with car plate history. CarVeto provides a free check that lists all vehicle registration mark changes together with historical information like mileage checks accident history and theft.

Application Process

To use a custom license plate you will need to apply to the DMV. Custom plates are often referred to as specialty plates.

The basic process involves completing a standard application form. You will need to verify your address and demonstrate proof of ownership for the vehicle that you intend to use with the custom plates.

Once you have completed your application you may need to arrange for delivery of your custom plate to the local DMV office and then pick it up from there. Once again, it is wise to check first what are the precise requirements in your state.

If you are going to move house, it is sensible to check what the requirements are in your new state. Also as a side point, it may be worth considering shipping your vehicle to your new state if it is very far.

How to Create a Custom License Plate

This is the easiest part. You can use any number of online websites to give you ideas about the lettering and also the prices. It is a good idea to check with several sites and compare prices.

If you are wondering about a private number plate value then check it directly with a supplier online. Some number plates are an excellent investment and have the potential to massively increase in value. For example, the number plate ‘F1’ was first purchased for less than £0.5 million but was recently listed at a value of £15 million.

Of course, if your car has a custom plate and you break down, it can be even more embarrassing than normal. So, make sure your car is well-maintained and you know the basics of keeping it running well.

Ideas for a Custom License Plate

There are a surprising number of ways you can customize your number plate. The following are some general areas you could consider.


You may be surprised by the number of background options. It is possible, depending on which state you live, to change the background to include a mountain scene or some other interest you may have. It is also possible to get different sports logos of teams included in the background.

Besides sports teams, you may think about charities or other agencies that you support and have their logo included on your number plate. 


The first consideration is whether the color will match or complement your vehicle’s existing color profile. The color you choose may reflect something about your personality or may be tastefully paired with your vehicle’s color.

Remember, whatever color you choose should not create difficulties in reading the number plate lettering.


This is what most people think of when they think about a custom license plate. Start by writing down words or short phrases that you like or want on your car. They could be a name or a fun adjective like “zoom” or “fluffy.” 

Once you have your list, then start to think about how to shorten the length so that it will fit with your state’s requirements. Think also about how you might substitute some letters for numbers. For example, the letter B can be substituted with 8, and the letter E can be substituted with 3.

Looking for More Inspiration?

In this article, you have read some of the basics about applying for and creating your custom license plate. The bottom line is that you need to check the state-specific requirements but beyond that, it is only limited only by your creativity and budget.

If you are looking for more inspiration for your lifestyle, then check out our other great articles today.

*This article was contributed.